You have 2 seconds and less than 50 characters to grab your reader’s attention with the subject line of your email marketing campaign, so it is absolutely vital that you optimise this space. You might be tempted to go for CAPS, exclamation marks and cheesy phrases but contrary to popular belief this is the complete opposite of what you should do.
Good subject lines are straightforward, clear and describe the subject of your email, go figure. It’s simple advice and yet many people don’t take heed. You need to say what the email contains, why your reader should open it and what benefit or reward they’ll get if they do. Have a look at stats online and you will find that the most effective subject lines are almost ‘boring’. Conversely, the ones that have some of the lowest results are generally the ones that look and sound like creative advertising, which recipients automatically think is spam and delete accordingly.
Your subject line directly influences your open rate, get it wrong and it’s time and money wasted, get it right and you can realistically expect very impressive open rates. So how do you go about creating the ultimate content for it? We have come up with a number of ways to help you maximise this small yet equally important component of your campaign.
First off, you need to clearly state your offer and the contents of the email. Whether it’s a newsletter, promotion, special deal or sale you should aim to use that word in your subject line. According to a recent study by Return Path, 55.2% of recipients opened the email because the subject line clearly stated the offer.
Use your company name as the first word in your subject line. This has shown time again that it achieves high open rates and it’s a tactic well worth employing. Of course this might use up a considerable amount of valuable characters so remember that you can always put the company name in the ‘from’ line.
Personalisation and using your recipient’s first name, such as ‘Hi Bob – check out our latest offer’, will generally grab that person’s attention. This is especially the case if he is skimming through emails, and it can lead to a higher open rate.
Creating a sense of urgency, without going overboard, will have the same desired effect. ‘24-hour sale’,’ today/this week only’, ‘limited supplies’, ‘offer expires in 30 minutes’ tends to play on a reader’s subconscious, and who likes to miss out anyway?
A/B testing is one of the most cost and time effective ways to improve your subject line and campaign. You know what they say about assumption? Well it rings true here too. Don’t assume that the content of your subject line will definitely garner the results you desire. Put it to the test. Keeping your copy the same, you only need to change the wording or angle of the subject line in your email. Send both options of the campaign to a select (not random) number of recipients and track them using your analytics. Which produces the desired results as far as click through or conversion rates? You can then use that subject line when sending out that particular campaign. If neither option produces a satisfactory result then you need to go back to the drawing board.
Make sure that whatever you write in your subject line follows through in your email. Misleading people and failing to deliver on your promise of discounts, sales and once in a lifetime offers can get you reported as spam, which can ruin your reputation before you realise you even had one.
It’s not easy creating a winning subject line and it will take a certain amount of trial and error to get it right. You might have the most award winning copy for your campaign, but if no-one opens your emails then what’s the point? To sum it up, you should state clearly; personalise; create a sense of urgency and put your subject line to the test to help ensure that your email doesn’t get deleted or ignored.